Study probes American piracy practices

Yarrr. Researchers at Columbia University have released some interesting data on piracy in the US. The results come from over 2,000 interviews conducted in August, and they suggest that piracy has become acceptable—although it rarely occurs on a grand scale.

According to the survey, 46% of adults have engaged in piracy. So-called sharing is more popular among the younger generation, with 70% of those in the 18-29 age group admitting to acquiring content illegally. However, only 2% of those surveyed had more than 1,000 pirated music files, and just 1% had more than 100 movies. Women are nearly as bad as men, it seems, with only a 2% gap between the two genders.

Overall, most folks seem to be OK with casual piracy. While the data shows "very low levels of support" for sharing content on larger networks, around 70% of those surveyed are happy to share with their families, while just over half extend their network to friends. It's unclear whether those friends are real or of the Facebook variety.

As many have argued for years, the availability of content from legitimate services has discouraged piracy. Over 40% of pirates say they engage in piracy less thanks to legal streaming sources. A narrow (52%) majority of those surveyed also support penalties for piracy. Most think those penalties should involve fines and warning rather than pulling the plug on someone's internet connection.

These results come from an upcoming study on the differences in attitudes toward piracy among those in the US and Germany. Alas, it seems only the American results have been published thus far. Thanks to Ars Technica for the tip.

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